Skip to main content

Honeymoon: From Big John to the Big Spring

As soon as we made it up Bayfield's relatively steep hill we put the gear in the car and I put the bikes back on the rack. 

I don't think our car is meant to have a bike rack like this. The hatchback window is bolted into steel, but you're actually tethering the bike rack to the glass. Every time I heard a creaking noise along the highway I was nerve-wracked.




We headed back on the road towards our next destination Mackinac Island.

We started snacking right away.

Once we entered Michigan a few honest-to-goodness mountains sprouted up. Of course that means skiing. Had it been winter, we would've had to stop.


Our little Honda Insight cruised along the empty highway. Every truck in sight along the Ottawa National Forest were loaded with timber. We drove past the old growth piled like pickup sticks.
We were ready for lunch so we took a break in Iron something.

Iron River.

This was the first of many chances to eat Pasties. A pastry of sorts native to iron country. Instead we stopped at Scott's Subs.


On our way again and past the other Iron city (Iron Mountain) we stopped at Big John. I remember coming here as a kid when my family did an Upper Michigan vacation.




I filled my water bottle with water "From Old Faceful." It was good. I just can't imagine it really being mine water. Wouldn't it be full of mineral deposits?

We decided to skip the tour after seeing the admission price. Scott tried to convince me that there would be better mine tours later on. I wasn't convinced they'd be better than this one.

We still looked around the gift shop.
And took photo ops.

Across the street we found more giant figures.



Escanaba and the daylight. (Blake points out that it would be Ecanaba in da Daylight.)

Once we reached Escanaba we decided to get out and stretch our legs with a bike ride.

In Minnesota we have the phrase "Minnesota Nice." After being in Escanaba for 10 minutes we were happily greeted by everyone we passed. I think Michigan should take over that phrase.

And Minnesota should change theirs to "Minnesota Passive-Aggressive."

The bike trail we rode along took us onto an island that had beaches on one side and a bay on the other.



I checked out the water and exclaimed that it was warmer than Madeline Island. I then insisted we go for a dip.


I had to agree that Lake Michigan was a lot warmer than Superior.

The wind and the waves enticed me into the lake. We dove into the waves like we were at Noah's Ark.


The sun was getting low and we needed to find a place to stay for the night.

It was time to head on. This would be a brief, but brilliant memory.



We ended up at the Flowing Well National Forest Campground. We quickly set up camp before it got too dark and then ventured out in hopes of finding dinner. We ended up finding nothing and ate peanut butter rice cakes instead.

Day 6


We woke up early and enjoyed the scenery that we missed out on the night before.

The Sturgeon River was right behind our campsite.

We brushed along its banks.

Since we had no wood we headed to Manistique in search of breakfast. We found a quaint diner downtown, Floyd's Family Restaurant.

I hadn't slept well the past two nights and was in much need of coffee. When the owner sat us down he asked if we wanted any. I responded "YES!" quickly. He jokingly said, Whoa she's crabby today. Our waitress said, You know why she's crabby? Because men are dumb.

I was dumb and ate some delicious flapjacks. Who's dumb now Mrs. Hashbrowns and Toast?



While reading through our Michigan travel guide  I read about the Fayette Historic State Park. Its an abandoned ghost town located just south of Manistique on a peninsula that mirrors Door County.

A history of the park:
"Fayette was once one of the Upper Peninsula's most productive iron-smelting operations. Fayette grew up around two blast furnaces, a large dock and several charcoal kilns after the Civil War. Nearly 500 residents—many immigrating from Canada, the British Isles, and northern Europe—lived in and near the town that existed to make pig iron. During 24 years of operation Fayette's blast furnaces produced a total of 229,288 tons of iron, using local hardwood forests for fuel and quarrying limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore. When the charcoal iron market began to decline, the Jackson Iron Company closed its Fayette smelting operations in 1891." 


Some buildings were just shells while others you could still walk into.


So, Brooke walked...

...into to the woods...

...up a set of stairs...


...and just plain admired them.
They are still working on preserving many of the buildings. I hope to go back again in 5 years to see what else had been done.


They had some cute, if a bit easy, puzzles that the kids may have played with in one home.

The small town even had live entertainment.


The furnace was definitely the centerpiece of the settlement.


Brooke and I both thought so and took the same picture.




To think all these buildings stood vacant and overgrown by trees for more than 50 years before it was turned into a park.

They also had a hotel.

In fact the hotel was one of the last places to close before the town become a state park in 1956.



The folks at the restaurant also recommended we go to the Big Springs (Kitch-iti-kipi) at Palms Book State Park. We spent more time than we thought we would at Fayette and we needed to get to Mackinac Island. We debated about skipping this since it wasn't really on the way, but I'm glad we didn't.

The spring is 40 feet of clear water. You can see everything. I would have loved to swim in here but it stays at 40 degrees even in the summer.

I had to instagram this place.


It's a huge drop off so the park built a raft for viewers to take across with a hole in the middle for seeing the bottom.



You could photograph the place all day. So many unique colors and textures.

I snuck a few pics on the shore with my underwater camera. Had it been sunny out it would have been clearer.


While Brooke took a bathroom break I eyed up the rubber band guns.

 
Then we raced to St. Ignace to catch our ferry.
We were 5 minutes too late. 

 I was worried since our Bed and Breakfast said we had to check in by 6.

We'd either make it to our Mackinac Island B&B or sleep in the wild. 

Comments

emma said…
I remember that big red pole.

Fayette is really neat. My dad and I camped nearby once. I met a kid and gave him a rock, near the water.

Big Spring is really cool, too.

I'm reliving my childhood. Thanks.
Blake Romenesko said…
I think you meant Escanaba in da daylight.

Also you can come up and tour the Soudan mine in Soudan, MN.
Katrina said…
Fayette and the springs look really neat. I should have gotten a travel book when Dennis and I went on our honeymoon. I hope you made it to Mackinac Island in time to check into your b&b.

Popular posts from this blog

Meadow's 3rd Birthday Party with Special Guests Mr. Mike and G.G.

My parents called the day before they arrived saying that they were coming for the weekend. My mom had to work late on Friday so they left early Saturday. This weekend turned out to be super humid and hot. As soon as they arrived I suggested we go to the Science Museum. Mr. Mike was astounded by the the museum. Partway through our visit we took a break to see a national parks documentary in the Omnitheater. This was Meadow's first movie.  I was surprised to see a lowly midwest locale featured. At one point in the film they went ice climbing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. So cool. There was so much to see here that we didn't quite get to everything. And this is the second time we've been here in the past few months.  It was actually less busy on a Saturday than during the week when school groups are here. As we were trying to leave we kept finding more things to do. I had a chance to see space. You look astounded. Must be

Grand Rapids to the Gunflint Trail: A Work-cation

Scott had a few jobs in Northern Minnesota to do so he packed them all in to one week to make a trip out of it.  I offer a special rate for my 360 photography to Minnesota tourism businesses through Explore Minnesota.  We would be making stops in and around Grand Rapids, Duluth, Grand Marais and the end of the Gunflint Trail. Of course I have to bring the family along.  If I'm going to have to take off work to stay home with the kids, I might as well come along too.

Honeymoon But With Kids: Fayette Historic State Park, Kitch-iti-kipi and Lake Michigan Camping

Day 6 This day would see us exploring the south shore of the Upper Peninsula, which is oddly the North Shore of Lake Michigan. We luckily had a break in the rain when we headed to Fayette Historic State Park . We were surprised to see an almost empty parking lot when we arrived. This was one of our favorite stops 10 years back. Theo found something stinky in the old furnaces. Eventually Meadow wasn't bored. It's kind of amazing how much survived after it was no longer a vacation town. I was hoping more restoration had been done since our last visit but that didn't seem to be the case.  I think they wanted to maintain this weathered look, but the roofs had started growing moss. It was still fun to revisit.  It's hard to imagine this place being a bustling town.  Scott taught the kids how to play checkers in the children's exhibit. This would spark their obsession with the game for the rest of the trip.  Someone wasn't happy that he lost.  This kid cannot stand lo